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The Death of Ivan Ilych

The Death of Ivan Ilych


by Leo Tolstoy

The Death of Ivan Ilych Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Do you think Tolstoy's satire of the middle class of his day applies more broadly? To other classes, or to people in general? Does it apply today?
  2. Does Tolstoy's narrator come across as arrogant or pretentious to you? To what extent does The Death of Ivan Ilych feel like it is written by an aristocrat?
  3. Why do you think Tolstoy chooses to begin the story with Ivan Ilych's funeral?
  4. Does Tolstoy's interest in teaching a moral through the story compromise it as a work of art? Is this novella too moralistic?
  5. Does The Death of Ivan Ilych have any compelling value or worth as a work of art besides its moral message? What else might make it a great work of literature?
  6. Do you find the ending of The Death of Ivan Ilych satisfying? Why or why not? How much do you think the answer to that question depends on whether you share Tolstoy's religious beliefs?

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